Monthly Archives: September 2005

All Star Batman and Robin #2

Even though it takes place entirely in the Batmobile (except for four pages which include Vicki Vale’s recollection of last issue’s events), the first issue’s comparative lack of content is made up for in the second, which has 44 panels on the last three pages.

Jim Lee’s visual references to Frank Miller’s past work continue in this issue from the first page, which is an imitation of a Sin City panel:

In fact, the cars used by the GCPD — still thoroughly corrupt at this point — seem to be the same make and model as those used by the Basin City PD. But enough about the pictures.

After reading the first issue I wrote that “Miller seems to have ingenuously realized that the only way to make Robin work with regard to Batman is not to tell the story apologetically, but to totally embrace the idea with confidence and jump in gung-ho.”Even so I underestimated Miller. Everything he hinted at in the first issue erupts to the surface in this one. It is over-the-top in every way: plot, dialogue, and subtext. The suggestive undertones of the first issue explode into full-blown disturbing imagery and dialogue.

I suspect a lot of people will hate this Batman, say it’s not the real Batman, he’s too obsessive, even perverse, but we’ve seen the real Batman for over 65 years now and I say it’s about time somebody accepted the inherent absurdity of the premise and pushed it “to the MAX.”

Miller might have invented a new genre here: Camp Noir. After all, Miller insisted “Boy Wonder” be included in the title. From Vicki Vale fainting in the arms of a shirtless Alfred in the rain, to Batman hissing “sleep tight, my ward” through his teeth, every page couples the melodrama of a soapy newspaper strip with Fredric Wertham‘s fever dreams. Even if it ends up a glorious disaster, I think this is the most interesting experiment to happen to Batman in a long time and I can’t wait to read the next chapter.